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Readers in KS2 SATs tests - unfair advantage?

(80 Posts)
KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 04-May-12 14:33:26

The SENCO told me that DS was to have a reader in the maths test paper. I was not aware of the criteria. Having found out the criteria and recieving standardised tests from the school I found out that there is no significant discrepency between RA and CA on sentence reading tests - on a bad day he is less than a year behind and on a good day can even be a couple of months above his chronological age. He is able to read all the questions himself. He has never recieved help or support with reading in the classroom although he frequently requires a prompt. The school is unwilling to accept that he does not start or complete tasks independently to such an extent that a prompt is necessary.

I told the SENCO that DS did not qualify for a reader and that it was bad for his sense of himself as a learner to insist upon his receiving support that he did not need and did not want - a bit like insisting that he had stabilisers on his bike. I was surprised to learn that DS was not the only member of the class of around 16 (in a small, rural, m/c primary school) earmarked to receive support but that around 8 children would have readers and that a significant number of these did not meet the criteria either (reading age below 9, on action or action+, evidence of requiring reader in class etc) but that readers were able to help them in other ways! Am I being horribly naive but this strikes me as a tad illegal?

What should I do - tell other parents of the 'unfair advantage' (as the mother of 2 children with SEN this may seem rather odd but in my experience enabling DS to do his best in the SATs by having a prompt disguised as a reader who is able to help test results match teacher assessment will actually prevent us from getting his needs met at secondary level for many years to come by making it appear that he can work independently) complain to the BoG, report them to the LEA etc?

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 21:20:14

I think they assume that even in the face of extreme provocation that people in the teaching profession have some integrity.

Most of them, anyway.

learnandsay Wed 03-Apr-13 20:31:24

America is rife with it too. What did the watchdog think was going to happen?

mrz Wed 03-Apr-13 20:26:00

mrz Wed 03-Apr-13 20:24:12

Some heads have actually done that learnandsay

learnandsay Wed 03-Apr-13 20:21:10

I can see why it's so important to them they don't want to run the risk that the sats scores won't be high enough if they allow the children to fill the answers in. I'd just sit in the office and fill the papers in myself if it was my school.

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 19:11:59

Shedman, you appear to be back-pedalling at a rate of knots, now. Suddenly you are complying with the ARA, your children have always required readers in lessons, and therefore should in tests also. So what? You are complying with the ARA rules, no one has said you are not, so why bother commenting?

You seem have come out all guns blazing to protect a school which - a year ago - did not follow the rules, and was in breach of the ARA. They did not give the child in question help in the classroom to read (and you not only condone this, but appear on a thread to shout about it? hmm) but wanted to give the child unfair help in the tests.

That kind of thing is a)in breach of the ARA b)does not help the child one iota and c)makes the game we have to play an uneven playing field. Would you be happy if this school was the next one to you locally, but was above you in the league tables simply because they gave children unlawful help in tests, whilst refusing to help the child the rest of the time? How is that fair?

seeker Wed 03-Apr-13 18:58:53

Shedman- I am a school governor, and I would be very unhappy if I found out this was happening at our school- we would take it very seriously. You do need to be very careful- you could potentially have our children's results voided. Please take this seriously.

mrz Wed 03-Apr-13 18:56:25

I'm equally surprised that you are a teacher shedman and yet you think it's acceptable to bend the rules

ClayDavis Wed 03-Apr-13 18:52:46

The only reason this could 'create enormous problems' for the school would be if they were in breach of the ARA. In which case Feenie's advice o report to the LA would have been correct.

shedman Wed 03-Apr-13 18:45:45


On your first point, I replied to a year old thread because 1) I read it for the first time this morning and 2) because I feel its content is again relevant as we approach SATs week 2013. Furthermore, I do not believe we breach the requirements of the ARA. Reading questions for the children in lessons is very much common practice in our school where the majority of the children speak a different first language. Having a reader can give them the confidence to understand what the question is actually asking. We make it absolutely clear to readers and translators that they are not allowed to clarify any of the concepts or offer help with the questions. Needless to say, children are never assisted with reading any part of the reading test.

As for your second point on my use of the phrase 'grass up', I believe its childish connotations make it an apt term (which incidentally you will find in any English dictionary) to describe your eagerness to encourage others to create potentially serious trouble for what are probably very hard working and caring staff teams for absolutely no perceivable gain to you other than some kind of childish satisfaction. I note with interest that you criticise my use of this phrase and yet you use the perhaps more childish term 'jeez'.

The thing I find most surprising is that it seems you are a member of the teaching profession. You know nothing of the individual circumstances of the school in question in the original post, you also know nothing of the veracity of the claims therein and yet your first advice is for the poster to inform the local authority, knowing full well that this could create enormous problems for the school. As a teacher, I am sure that you work extremely hard for the benefit of the children and families served by your school. I only hope that your diligence is not threatened by the spiteful one-upmanship that you demonstrate in your responses in this thread.

mrz Wed 03-Apr-13 18:10:24

Do your pupils with a reading age bellow 9 years normally have a reader in every lesson?

"Schools must ensure that documentation showing that a child is eligible for access arrangements, including readers , prompters and scribes, is available for inspection in the event of a monitoring visit. This must include evidence that resources are routinely committed to providing this support in the classroom.
If schools use access arrangements for a child inappropriately, the child’s results may be annulled."

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 18:10:19

We use readers where children have a reading age of below 9 years. In any interpretation of ARA, this is not cheating.

^A child who has difficulty reading and is supported by a
reader in normal classroom practice may be supported
by a reader.^

Do your children who have difficulty reading have a reader in normal classroom practice, shedman?

If they don't, then in the very simplest interpretation of the ARA it is cheating.

If they do, I have difficulty in seeing what you appear to have joined MN/namechanged to shout about.

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 18:03:32

Ahhh, thought so. Then your LEA moderators haven't moderated properly - the ARA is very clear.

shedman Wed 03-Apr-13 18:01:05

The last two Minky66 replies were in fact mine. My sister logged into mumsnet on my computer on her last visit and didn't log out!

Apologies for any confusion.

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 17:56:52

Has anyone said that you are? confused

Minky66 Wed 03-Apr-13 17:55:52

We use readers where children have a reading age of below 9 years. In any interpretation of ARA, this is not cheating.

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 17:55:05

Or have you forgotten to namechange?

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 17:54:39

Am I missing something, Minky66 - has anyone said that they should be?

Minky66 Wed 03-Apr-13 17:51:36

Actually my school has been moderated several times in my time there and has never had any of its procedures called into question.

Feenie Wed 03-Apr-13 14:56:47

Quite frankly, local authorities are well used to the petty perniciousness demonstrated by people like Feenie, who seems to think that the answer to everything is to grass the school up to the local authority

Two things.

First of all, I am confused as to why you have seen fit to up a year old thread to essentially complain about a) the rules as they stand and b)anyone who points it out or is obliged to enforce it. You are aware that the ARA is a legally binding document, aren't you? And that Heads can and have been prosecuted for malpractice?

Secondly - 'grass the school up'? How old are you? And you work in a school? Jeez. confused

seeker Wed 03-Apr-13 13:59:07

Exactly, mrz. Then the new head will get it in the neck from everyone when the results go down.

mrz Wed 03-Apr-13 12:55:05

If only we had plenty of separate rooms then we could cheat assist children like shedman's school hmm

ipadquietly Wed 03-Apr-13 12:39:12

'Circumstances where a reader must not be used

Readers must not be used with children who are capable of reading the test materials on their own. STA will monitor whether schools are using readers correctly during the National Curriculum test period. The inappropriate use of readers may lead to the annulment of a child’s results.'

mrz Wed 03-Apr-13 12:10:26

until the moderator pops in and the head gets the sack seeker

seeker Wed 03-Apr-13 11:48:58

Wow, shedman- bet your school gets good SATs results !

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